Something you can do with all that leftover matzah

My wife usually writes the foodie blog posts but this idea for all that leftover matzah is too good not to be shared.

It’s pretty simple actually: make a matzah pizza. We had for lunch and this particular one is a sort of salad matzah pizza. 

The first step is to spread tomato paste on the matzah (not compulsory but it works). Then add a layer of cheese:

I added a top layer of cheese to the base before putting it into the oven to grill the matzah pizza:

The result is pretty good.  

I just don’t get the banting fad

I know banting seems like all the rage these days but I just don’t get it. Well, I roughly understand what the basic rules are but this diet and others like it seem to be, well, fads. At the moment banting is huge and people swear by it (I hear there are crop circles and everything) but what happened to moderate, yet fairly well rounded eating habits?

Before I continue I should probably point out that I’m not a dietician so don’t rely on what I am about to say or leap off tall buildings, even if you are wearing a red cape.

I had to change my diet a while ago when I was diagnosed as diabetic. What I really liked about the meal options my dietician gave me was that they made a lot of sense. She took me off sugars (diabetes – obvious, right?) and put me on to low GI foods which included carbs, fruits, vegetables and so on. I also stuck with relatively low fat meat, dairy and other foods which tend to have fat content.

My amazing wife switched our family’s diet almost overnight to this healthier option and I started exercising a lot more. I lost about 15 kgs by eating better and exercising more regularly and started to feel a lot better than I had for a long time. It was a little tough in the beginning because I was used to all the sweet stuff but I found a balance between small quantities of the “bad sweet stuff” I used to eat and my healthier meal options and it literally changed my life in a very sustainable way.

Food, to me, is something to enjoy and eat in moderation. Sure, many people can’t eat certain types of food and adjust their diets accordingly but when a diet becomes a hardship, it tends not to be one you’d be motivated to stick with. Also, add the seemingly fanatical banting supporters to the mix and it becomes a hazard carrying a loaf of bread in the vicinity of a bantite (what do you call banting adherents?).

Clearly banting has worked for a lot of people but it just seems like a fad to me which will be replaced by whatever post-paleo, neo-banting diet rolls around next …

Oranges are back in season

It’s citrus season again and each year it arrives I remember how much I enjoy oranges. Seems like they return to the shelves just in time too, colds and flu season is well underway.

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Gina's pasta maker and our culinary experience

Gina won a pasta maker in a competition with Table 21 and The Culinary Table so we took a drive out to Lanseria so she could pick up her prize.

]5 @ShazPhoto, @ChefAndrewR, Gina (@Gnat_J) and a friendly man from the Culinary Table presenting Gina with her prize.

We had a chance to spend some time in the restaurant which in a terrific space:

]6 The restaurant is a large open space with solid wood tables and a high ceiling

She participated in a short photo shoot with Sharon and Andrew in the store and restaurant:

]7 A photographer taking a photo over a photographer’s shoulder at 3 people who include 2 photographers – very meta

Our kids were hungry so we sat down for lunch. The food was terrific. They make the best french fries I’ve had (special potatoes, low oil content) …

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Our daughter wanted a waffle that came with vanilla ice-cream (probably made at The Culinary Table) and raw honey …

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]9 I wound up eating much of this, very nice!

I had the Free Range PinzGauer Beef Short-Rib Sandwich which was terrific.

]10 My lunch today

Gina had a duck salad with grilled nectaries which she really enjoyed. Our son ordered a toasted cheese sandwich but didn’t get through it all. Gina and I loved the food but I think the taste was a bit too different for our kids. Our daughter made good progress with the chips, though. This sort of food is probably wasted on younger kids so think of this as a treat for the grown-ups.

The Culinary Table then topped off the experience by refusing to charge us for our meal. Thank you! We had a good time and the drive back home was long enough for the kids to have a nap for most of the trip back.

Bean There memories

One of the things I enjoy about putting my presentation slides for talks and workshops together is using my growing library of photos. I’ve pretty much stopped using other stock photos for my talks (well, 99% stopped). This afternoon I came across this great little set of photos I took at one of my few visits to Bean There in 44 Stanley.

Happiness in a Seattle Coffee Company cup

Happiness in a cup-1

Nastassja popped out for lunch and brought back a little happiness in a cup for me. I directed my procrastination at this little tribute to the Seattle Coffee Company.

Happiness in a cup-2

Happiness in a cup-3

Happiness in a cup-4

Making vanilla essence – a mini photo shoot preview

My wife made vanilla essence and she asked me to take some photos of the process for her. Here are a couple photos straight off my camera.

Getting started with vanilla and glass bottles
Pouring the vodka

She’ll publish She published the edited set on her blog when her post is done but I thought I’d share these few as a preview (Update: Gina’s post is up at You Cook What? on her blog so go take a look at her recipe for vanilla essence.

The essence of vanilla

This is probably my first food shoot so I guessed a lot about which perspectives to take photos from and how to shoot the stuff. Let me know if you have any suggestions? We’ll do the rest of the photos when Gina is done with the process. My photos are up on Flickr if you’d like to take a look. Feedback is most welcome!

2012-05-20 Gina makes vanilla essence

Beluga #fail

I think I have been to the Beluga restaurant once. I had lunch there during a trip to Cape Town a couple years ago and when I have thought about fancy places to visit during future trips, it has tended to pop up in my mind as a possibility. That won’t be happening anymore (not that this matters in the scheme of things). After reading about Shaun Oakes’ and his girlfriend’s recent experience there and, particularly, the owner’s responses to feedback from Shaun’s girlfriend, Beluga has the appeal of rotting fish on a beach on a hot day.

beluga

Its a familiar story about a poor experience at a restaurant although with a good response from a manager working that night. Unfortunately Beluga’s owner, Oscar Kotze, missed the boat entirely and behaved terribly:

As the restaurant owner though, is this the way you deal with patrons who say things you don’t like? Ban them and threaten to chase them away? Maybe I’m being biased, but I thought The Girlfriend’s email was pretty reasonable. Granted, some of the things she said made her sound quite pretentious a bit of a tit, but she was emotional at the time, so I am willing to forgive her. Oscar Kotze’s response was completely over the top though. This doesn’t feel right to me, he has a massively popular little spot in Cape Town, but he seems to have a really shitty way of dealing with people.

This has the makings of an academic case study for social marketers but it has a real world angle. Kotze ignored offensive behaviour by one of his waiters, threatened Shaun’s girlfriend with criminal charges and banned Shaun and his girlfriend from the restaurant altogether. Sure, its his restaurant and he can limit admission. At the same time his customers can choose to go elsewhere and hopefully some will. Will it make a difference to his trade? Possibly not. Is it important to know who you are dealing with when you visit a restaurant like Beluga? Absolutely. Be sure to read Shaun’s post and the comments too.